Thursday, February 24, 2011

World Cup 2011 : South Africa vs West Indies...

First real big match of the tournament at Feroz Shah Kotla Stadium, New Delhi - firm favourites South Africa against former Champions West Indies.

Greame Smith won the toss & decided to put the Windies into bat. His decision payed off almost immediately, as the flamboyant Gayle got out in the 1st over itself to an innocuous spin of Botha, with score reading 2 for1. However, the Windies did not crumble under this huge setback & Darren Bravo(cousin to legendary Brian Lara) along with Devon Smith started building the innings. Bravo, rated by many as the next big thing in the Calypso batting order, hit out hard at the Proteas bowling attack & got to his half century with a huge six off Imran Tahir in the 16th over. However, once Bravo fell in the 24th over for a brilliant 73, Smith & Sarvan fell in quick succession, leaving the Windies lurching at 120 for 4 in the 27th over. Dwayne Bravo & Chanderpaul took on from there to resurrect the innings. Just when things were getting under control Bravo got run out to an impossible run, with the score at 179 for 5 in the 38th over. He had contributed a well made 40 off 37 deliveries. Chanderpaul was the next to go, trying to force the pace of the innings. At the end of the 42nd over the score read 212 for 6. The Windies had 142 dot balls played till then, which is almost half the total deliveries - not a healthy sign at all.
The innings lost momentum from here & wickets fell in regular intervals. Pollard on whom a lot depended got out to Steyn for a duck & the innings finally ended for a score of 222 in the 48th over, a double Nelson, in cricketing parlance. The last 5 wickets fell for just 13 runs in the space of 6 overs. Barring Darren Bravo, Devon Smith, Chanderpaul & Dwayne Bravo, all of whom got good starts but could not convert into a big score, all others failed. For the Proteas, Steyn & Imran Tahir did the damage with the ball. Tahir, the spin surprise from South Africa on his debut match, did very well to end with figures of 4 for 41.

In reply, South Africa started in cavalier fashion, but soon got into trouble. Amla gone for 14 & Kallis for 4, with the score reading a dismal 20 for 2 in 5 overs. Two top batsmen back in the dressing room & the chokers tag looming large. Greame Smith got into the sheet anchor's role & AB de Villiers took on the attack, moving the score to 73 for 2 at the end of 15 overs, the partnership adding 53 runs in 10 overs. The partnership extended to 119 runs, when Smith was bowled by Pollard for a well made 45 runs.
Next man in was Duminy, & he too got into the groove soon enough. The batting looked easy, with the Windies attack looking dazed  & listless. With Dwayne Bravo leaving the field, after injuring his knee, Darren Sammy as a captain looked completely out of ideas.  A light drizzle stopped the game for a while, with South Africa well ahead in the D/L average.
Anyways, when play resumed, AB strolled into his century in the 39th over. It turned out to be the fastest century by a South African...surprising !!! There seemed to be no tearing hurry as the batsmen preferred to stay at the crease & get in more batting practice.
In the end, it was a comfortable win for the Proteas by 7 wickets with more than 7 overs to spare. AB remained unbeaten with a match winning 107, with Duminy keeping company with a well made 42.
For the Windies, the bowling looks quite ordinary & may be their bane in the competition. Its only their batting which might win them matches, but then Gayle & Pollard will have to come good along with Sarvan & the young rookies.

Man of the Match : AB de Villiers for a brilliant century.

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